• White Girl (Part 5)

    White Girl (Part 5)0

    It is dark; it seems to be dark all of the time. My family is assembled on the front steps of the log hall. This is not a very big building, maybe 30 feet by 40 feet. Smoke and sparks from a wood fire pour out of the chimney into the star sprinkled night sky above us. How can they fit a whole town in here? It is best for us to enter all at once; we don’t want to let the heat inside escape into the frozen night.

  • White Girl (Part 4)

    White Girl (Part 4)0

    In front of us is the mountain. The sinewy fingers of the Giant Beavers of Yamoria fame clench suddenly over our plane and hurl us toward the ragged river ice. Our plane plunges and dives toward a cruel and sudden death on the mighty Mackenzie River. Engine screaming, my mom is screaming, I can’t hear her, her mouth is open in terror but I can only hear the screaming of the plane engine as we plummet.

  • White Girl (Part 3)

    White Girl (Part 3)0

    Bunkhouses connected by boardwalks are my first memories of the “Wells.” Howling winds swirl snow down the walkways and build banks in the corners of the metal ATCO trailer units, which was the Mackenzie Hotel. The bunk beds that are crammed into the tiny cubicles are made of metal as well.

  • White Girl (Part 2)

    White Girl (Part 2)3

    My parents have researched Fort Norman, which is located on the Mighty Mackenzie River, the longest river in Canada winding and weaving for about 1,118 miles, in the then North West Territories of Canada. According to one encyclopedia, anything north of the Alberta border is a treeless wasteland that remains frozen solid for 10 months of the year.

  • White Girl

    White Girl4

    It is very cold; we are between Christmas and New Year’s, sitting on the frozen tarmac at Edmonton’s Municipal Airport. This is early morning; the sun has lots of sleeping time left yet. The year is 1965. A DC-6 airplane of the Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) vintage is struggling to warm up enough to start one last engine and get airborne in the minus -35C temperature. Northerners referred to PWA as the “please wait a while” airline.


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